Friday, July 25, 2014

World Cup depression is dying down

World Cup depression is dying down and World Cup apathy has kicked in. But no one seemed to tell the weather that-it´s cloudy and dreary, but there is sunshine in my soul! I got a little under the weather this week; being sick is bad but it has its bright spots as well. I got a lot of reading done. And the other sisters have had some time to rest. And I´ve thought a lot. Sometimes you just gotta do what the doctor says and stay down. You can try to push through it, but if you want to get better-you have to do things to get better! So best to be happy and use the time for good instead of stressing out that you´re not doing what you think you should be doing. To everything there is a season. Even for sickness.

I feel like I have SO much more to do here, but instead of stressing out about that like I used to, it just motivates me now. Infinite am I! And infinite are the things I can learn. It´s little by little, drop by drop, line upon line. It´s not a sprint. It´s not a race. Because, as Elder Uchtdorf said in this last conference, in the gospel of Jesus Christ there are no real endings, just eternal beginnings. One door shuts and another opens. One chapter comes to a close, but the book doesn´t finish. There´s no such thing as endings, not really. Because to God, it´s all just starting.

Be happy with where we are. Not settled, but happy. Keep striving to be better, to forgive, and to grow. Don’t beat yourself up when you don’t do it perfect. The commandment to be perfect as He is perfect isn’t supposed to leave us feeling hopeless. In fact, it should leave us feeling so full of resplendent hope that every time we mess up, wesmile and say, `´ok, well that’s something I’m not perfect at, but I know someone who is``. Then we go to Christ and we repent. And we try to fix that imperfection. And we keep going.  

Sometimes we think (or at least I did a lot) that it´s either perfection or failure. I either get an ``A+`` or I get an ``F`. Then I realized that´s actually nowhere in the scriptures or in modern revelation. Instead, we find words of hope, repentance and change. And it´s not just ``ta-dah! And now I´m PERFECT!!``. Even when Alma and the Sons of Mosiah were converted by the angel, none of them were translated, because they still had some things to work out- they still had imperfections. But they didn’t let that stop them. And they are now honored as some of the greatest missionaries who have ever walked the Earth. Not because they were perfect, but because they tried. And they kept trying. And they didn’t look back on their old ways and say , ``well it´s too late now, we were so wicked we should just give up.`` No. They trusted in the promise of the angel. They didn´t give up. It’s not about how many times you fall, it´s about how many time you get back up. Because, in the end, who will stand in front of God? Only those who´ve learned to get up on their feet.

Love you!!! Say your prayers and read your scriptures!

-Sister McKenzie 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Song of The Sun

calling the rain


 rain is hitting us

we´re number one!

thumbs up brazil!

 its watermelon season!

studious district 

peace out girl scout


Monday, June 30, 2014

World Cup Takes Over

A note from the mom: 

USA and Belgium are playing in the World Cup on Tuesday in Salvador.  Its going to be crazy there.  And a new mission president at the same time:)  I attached a link from the church news regarding the Salvador mission.

Samantha's letter:

Happy happy week! The world has been revolving around Word Cup (I really didnt realize how big of a deal soccer is, these people arent joking!), but we continue in our work and have been able to meet a lot of wonderful people. It is a little harder, but certainly not impossible! Well on game days it is actually impossible because we cant leave our house. But other than that, it´s actually been good for us, everyone is happy!
Sister Reis and I are doing wonderfully together! Ah she is such a cutie! With three Americans in the house, she is learning MUITO ingles! woo whoo! I´m so proud of her, our little Brazilian is becoming Americanized (she even likes cookies :)).
The new president arrives today! We are all so excited to meet him! I got to call Sister Hart for the last time yesterday, it was so bittersweet. I have absolutely loved having them as our mission parents, but I´m excited that they get to go back to their family. Three years! That´s double my time! We will certainly go visit them when I´m back! They live just a little ways from BYU :) So crazy to think that I´ll be back there in less than 9 months! Oh how the time flies!
I was thinking a lot this week about the blessings of serving a mission. Everyone says that the mission is the best thing you can do. I agree! It´s not easy, but it´s more than worth it. I have come to KNOW, not just believe, that Christ is my Savior, that God my loving Heavenly Father and that this is His restored church. As I study, pray and serve daily, my heart has been touched by the Spirit- the Spirit that teaches truth. And I have come to know. We can all know. That´s a promise from our Father. So if you have doubts, or are feeling lost, or sad, or troubled go to Him and He will speak unto your heart peace. Remember ``never have fear to trust an unknown future to a known God``. He is ever with you. As are my prayers! I love you!
-Sister McKenzie

Monday, June 23, 2014

Feliz Sao Joao!

Senhor de Bonfim is full! Tourist, fireworks and felicidade :) Today is extra special because it´s Brazil´s last chance to make it to the final (they´re tied with Mexico in their group right now). I hope they win because if not I think the whole country will enter into depression. And it´s dificult to teach when people are angry or sad, its better if they are happy :)

Today is the first day of my 7th transfer, can you believe it?? After this I have 5 more :0 The time is truly going by so quickly. And having a wonderful companion and apartment-mates makes it go by even quicker!
I love the people we are teaching so much! One couple, Lucia and Sandro, are the cutest! Their son is leaving on his mission Wednesday :) She goes to church every Sunday and she is an amor de pessoa!! I love her so much! We finally had the chance to meet her husband at FHE and we went there Friday and taught them about the Restoration, We´ve already taught her everything, but not him yet! He had such wonderful questions and was really interested in the Book of Mormon. They just need to be legally married, and with the help of president that should be soon!

A few little things from this week :) We were walking down the street and stopped to talk a group of women. They ended up sharing these little tiny coconuts with us (my awesome coconut cracking skills were quite useful). One thing (of the many) that I love here is that they truly share everything. They will help anyone and are so accepting and kind. We also crossed the sketchiest bridge. Walking along the railroad and suddenly there was no ground underneath us, just cars passing and people cheering for us to cross. I felt like the Donkey from Shrek. Sister Reis didn´t blink and crossed in one second and I was on the other side screaming with fear. Terrible. But we made it across.

All is well here, we are happy and healthy and seeing miracles everyday! I hope you are all doing wonderful! Love you!

-Sister McKenzie

1. street walkin

1. hello winter!

 world cup parttyyyy

senhor edson :)

sao paulo- prepare for Elder Santos!

baby coconut

when does it stop?!

 cutting milho for sao joao

watch out! she knows her stuff

Monday, June 16, 2014

This week was calm...

This week was calm. The world is on Holiday por causa da Copa. We have to go home early the days that Brazil plays, but we can hear who is winning from inside our apartment. The extra study time is wonderful! Conference talks finally arrived!!!!!!!!! PERFECT TIMING. The new Sisters are doing so well! We love them! Sister Reis was a little worried- living with three Americans but we only speak English when ABSOLUTELY necessary (words like awkward, creepy and random which do not have a Portuguese equivalent :/) but other than that we´re 100% FSL (fala sua língua).

Last goodbye to President and Sister Hart. We went to Petrolina for Zone Conference and their despedida. I can´t believe we´re already saying tchau, I just arrived at their house to meet Sister Oliveira (my trainer). And now here I am with my own filha just three days away form 9 months ahhh. I am so grateful to have had President and Sister Hart as my mission parents these last eight months. They´ve been there through the hardest parts of my mission, Always so loving, kind- truly angels. They have blessed the lives of hundreds of missionaries (and Thousandmillions and billions in eternity) through their sacrifice and service. They are truly ``examples of the believers``, ``a light on the hill``.

Our new presidente and his wife made a ``hello`` vídeo, I love them so much already! Watching their vídeo I had such a Strong impression that I´ve met them before. I have a feeling they are going to have a really big impact on my mission and throughout my life. July 4th we go back to Petrolina to meet them in real life, I´m so excited!

We met the coolest Adventista couple who own a health food store here- whole grain bread and soy milk and essential oils and quinoa = best Bonfim Discovery! There´s a really good group of free thinking healthy eaters here :) plus I´ve made friends with the dream catcher creator at the feira and he´s going to teach me to make dream catchers this week!!!

I´m so happy here! We are teaching such wonderful people, helping many come back and everyday meeting new investigators. It is truly the best thing in the world to serve as a missionary. I can say it´s the best decision I´ve made thus far in my life. I know I´m right where I´m supposed to be :) Love you guys! Be safe, say your prayers and remember that God love you more than you can understand! Ate mais!
-Sister McKenzie

sister leader love!

Uraguay + USA = Brazilian at heart

Three generations..

Coolest shirt I own..

High Five for Sister Hart!

How many mission presidentes do you know that kick a soccer ball with that level of skill?


All of Petrolina and Juazeiro

I will miss these two.. with you!

happy bus ride!

happy bus ride 2

Happy Mother Daughter


our railroad..

GOOOOO BRASIL!!! (Sorry america :(

sister mackessie

our lovely sociedade de socorro

love those girls..

love these girls.

bridge to alto..

sister stone's gato

what a cutie..

clean up clean up!